Talc Verdicts Remain a Mixed Bag in Second Half of 2019

In May 2019, we reported on the state of talc litigation following eye-popping verdicts in Missouri in July 2018 that saw Johnson & Johnson hit with $550 million in compensatory damages and over $4 billion dollars in punitive damages in 22 consolidated ovarian cancer cases. With hundreds of mesothelioma cases pending, alleging exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc and enormous damages potentially at stake, a further update is warranted. The last five months have seen several verdicts, and while it’s clear that talc asbestos cases are defensible, …

Continue Reading

Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Coverage Action, But Grants Colorado River Abstention

OHIO – The William Powell Company, which manufactured asbestos-containing valves and other products, fought a two-front coverage battle with its insurers regarding defense and indemnity for various personal injury cases filed against the company. In Ohio state court, Powell sought a declaratory judgment that it had the right to allocate sums expended to settle various cases, both retrospectively and prospectively. Powell later revised its claims to include breach of contract and a request for money damages. In federal court, Powell filed a lawsuit alleging breach …

Continue Reading

Brake Manufacturer denied Summary Judgment Despite Evidence as to Warnings prior to decedent’s exposure date

MARYLAND – The plaintiffs filed suit alleging John Dugger developed and passed away from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to Honeywell’s Bendix brakes. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged exposure to asbestos while working at his own automobile repair shop, Personal Auto, from 1980-1984 and while working as a mechanic at H and S Bakery from 1980-1982.

Honeywell moved for summary judgment. The plaintiff filed a response in opposition to Honeywell’s motion for summary judgment. The parties disagreed as to whether or not Bendix placed warnings …

Continue Reading

Honeywell Rebuffed in Effort to Preclude Plaintiff’s Experts

MARYLAND – Honeywell filed a Daubert motion to preclude the plaintiff’s experts from opining that chrysotile asbestos used in automobile brakes causes pleural mesothelioma or that every exposure is causative. The plaintiff retained Dr. Arthur Frank, Dr. John Maddox and Dr. John Finkelstein as experts. Honeywell argued that each expert offered the “each and every exposure” theory, which is barred under Daubert. The plaintiff agreed, and instead argued that his experts’ opinions were based on the plaintiff’s specific exposure level and not the general fact …

Continue Reading

North Carolina Statute of Limitations Bars Mesothelioma Claim

NORTH CAROLINA – The plaintiff, Jody Ratcliff, filed a complaint on March 1, 2017 alleging that her mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos. She sued several groups of defendants, including friction and talc defendants. She alleged that she was exposed to asbestos during the summers from 1987 to 1989 while visiting garages with her father, who was a tool salesman. She also alleged using talc products that allegedly contained asbestos, from 1977 to 2016. The four remaining defendants – Ford; Brenntag Specialties; Whittaker, Clark …

Continue Reading

Plaintiff’s Failure to Establish Exposure to Specific Products Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment for Roofing Defendants

NEW YORK – The plaintiff, Darlene DiNatale, filed suit against the defendants, Bird Incorporated and Certainteed Corporation, alleging she developed peritoneal mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos in which Bird and Certainteed were liable. Specifically, she claimed that she was exposed to asbestos from cleaning her father’s office. The plaintiff’s father worked as a home improvement contractor for Fillmore Construction. She also alleged that she was exposed to asbestos through the dust that came off of her father’s work clothes. Bird and Certainteed …

Continue Reading

Two Brake Manufacturers Prevail on Summary Judgment Based Upon Lack of Causation

WASHINGTON — In another decision in a case heavily reported by this Asbestos Case Tracker, the Western District of Washington granted summary judgment for Standard Motor Products (SMP) and Parker-Hannifin (collectively EIS). With regard to those defendants, the plaintiff alleged that decedent was exposed to asbestos while performing maintenance on his automobile brakes from 1996 to 1997. SMP and Parker moved for summary judgment based upon a lack of product identification.

In response to those motions, the plaintiff argued that the decedent was exposed …

Continue Reading

Indemnitor Cannot Replace Insurer as Party in Asbestos Coverage Suits, Court Rules

WISCONSIN – In an asbestos coverage suit brought by Eaton Corporation against its insurers, Eaton Corporation sought to substitute itself for First State Insurance Company in third-party indemnity and contribution claims brought against First State by other defendant insurers. Eaton and First State had entered into a settlement agreement in which Eaton agreed to defend and indemnify First State in such contribution claims, and First State granted Eaton the right to control First State’s defense in such claims. Eaton argued that because of the settlement …

Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Affirmed Due to Insufficient Service and Statue of Limitations

MINNESOTA – The plaintiff’s decedent passed away from mesothelioma allegedly caused by his exposure to his father’s work clothes and Bendix (Honeywell) brakes. The decedent’s father was an insulator for Walker Jamar and A.W. Kuettel. The decedent also worked for four months in 1974 as a janitor at an Oldsmobile dealership. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2011. The decedent originally filed suit in North Dakota in 2013, naming Walker Jamar but not Honeywell. Walker Jamar was dismissed from the North Dakota action on …

Continue Reading

Talc Defendant’s Appeal of Personal Jurisdiction Denial Dismissed

NEW JERSEY – After a lengthy discussion of corporate successor liability and the histories of the companies at bar, a New Jersey appellate court ultimately determined that the factual record was too incomplete to resolve questions regarding jurisdiction, and dismissed an appeal of the trial court’s order denying talc defendant Cyprus Amax Minerals Company (Cyprus) personal jurisdiction motion. Ohio resident Linda Huff had sued two Delaware corporations, Imerys Talc America, Inc. and Cyprus in New Jersey state court, alleging that their talc was incorporated into …

Continue Reading